In the next two months a new governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun will be taking the oath of office as the Chief Executive Officer of the Gateway State. Most citizens are rightfully waiting and anxiously too for the new Sheriff and what he has to offer. They are definitely not too sure they know their new Governor. They know Prince Dapo Abiodun the businessman, they know DA the politician from Iperu Remo, but the governor of over five million people both in cosmopolitan and rural Ogun State cannot be defined in boardroom theatrics, not on the political partisanship. They are looking for an Administrator, a manager of men and resources, a liberal minded, God-fearing leader who will dispense justice like a Daniel and be fair to all.
Should Dapo Abiodun be considered the luckiest governor in Ogun State modern history? Should he be pitied on account of the enormous responsibilities providence has decided to place on his shoulder? How prepared is he for the task ahead?. The fate of Ogun State appears sealed with his, and how he acquitted himself at the end of the day will make the difference. Dapo Abiodun rode in on the wings of time and he is a now a “prisoner” of that time and only time can acquit him.
Strange! The new Ogun State Governor might be considered lucky because he rode in on the shoulder of two former governors in the state; endorsed by another governor from Lagos State and leader of a party; nurtured and pampered by a Vice President with the blessings of a President. He should have less to fear outside the quantum of debt his predecessor might be handing over to him as well as the trap of nepotism which Amosun will desperately try to hang on him.
From his Acceptance speech, I will say it is gratifying enough that Dapo Abiodun is standing tall among statesmen: he has reassured the citizens of Ogun State that he “will or shall be a Governor for All”. Looking at “All” from the context as “everyone”, not minding where you come from, which religion or religious persuasions or which political party they belong to. This is a Covenant with the people, it is contract of convictions and sealed with faith.
Contracts of fairness and equity most times are easy with men who have done business as there are usually no religion, no ethnic colouration, no family attachment as part of considerations when sealing business deals; simply profit and capital. This is where DA should be able to surprise his greatest critics. He has a cosmopolitan disposition to life, and this should assist his liberal and sophisticated attitude to governance where profits are now defined as the universal welfare of the citizens, creation of employment and Empowerment of the citizens.
The terms of the contracts he needs to define for himself with the people is “what kind of Governor do I want to be?” At the end of these all, “how do I want to be seen?” Every deal sealed with the final destination in mind or the end result seldom falter. He has experienced to draw and tap from. Chief Olusegun Osoba’s administration became legendary for his rural development (roads and electricity the hinterland, villages and hamlets); the Otunba Gbenga Daniel administration was unrepentantly passionate about human capital development with focuses on people (employment generation, education, health and empowerment); and a strategic vision for a new Ogun State with investment drives; Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu did investment and laid the foundation of economic prosperity for Lagos. Dapo Abiodun cannot be starved of a model of good governance, all he has to do is to choose whoever suits him, and knowledge to tap from are available to him and at his beck and call.
A model too dangerous to copy is Amosun’s with his nepotistic bite. The people of Ogun State have never been this divided as they are in the last immediate eight years. And howeve how hard he tried, Amosun will try to hang this perception of his successor, if for anything to justify and legitimize his own past actions. This is a dangerous trap DA must run from. He should create a distinct perception which the people can easily relate to and accept as his own brand and identity, and not the sinister ones carved out for him through mischief.
Obviously the new Ogun State Governor is not a neophyte when it comes to politics, and especially that of Ogun State where he had contested for Senate position twice (in 1992 at relatively a very young age by Nigeria’s Political standard and in 2015), he had also contested for the governorship at the Primaries level in PDP in 2003, he had been tested enough politically, he cannot be excused for not hitting the ground running.
Ogun State people in the last 8 years have practically lived in a desert and they are thirsty for quick and urgent fountain of development and stream of progress. He can not afford to fail them. No doubt, there are mines laid down for him by his immediate predecessor who is not ready to go down without a fight, but Ogun State people would not be able to entertain excuses. They don’t see the mines, all they see is a man they love and for whom they voted, he must do as a miracle worker, how he does that they are less concerned or least bothered. They voted for him because of what they perceive in him as capacity, empathy and compassion. They ignored all the physical and psychological attacks visited on him to make him their preferred choice in a highly competitive contest, as far as they are concerned it is their payback time to be served.
Seasoned political administrators agree that making people the centre and focus of government business: policies, programs and actions is the universal principle of good governance. It cannot be an exception in Ogun State but the rule. Workers welfare, employment, education, health etc are the direct connecting factors linking up the people’s welfare. Infrastructure development must and should be driven from the perspectives of creating employment rather than aesthetics.
Steve is a political analyst and is based in Ogun State.